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COUNTY: Hernando County
LOCATION DETAILS: The incident occurred at the Richloam Wildlife Managament Area in the Green Swamp on the west side of 471 off of center grade (road) back in the campsite.
NEAREST TOWN: Lakeland
NEAREST ROAD: sr 471 inbetween hwy 98 and sr 50
OBSERVED: The incident happened two years ago in the Richloam Hunting Area in centeral Florida. The Green Swamp. My friend and I had been awake for fifteen minutes. We were sitting around the fire. I had just stoked the fire and added some more wood. That is when we heard something walking toward us in the woods. After it came to the road, it continued through the middle of the campsite, which led to the river, and then the other way into the woods. The animal ran down towards the water then turned around, ran back up the road and into the woods. At this time it went on the back side of the campsite. My friend and I were shocked, we thought it might be a bigfoot but decided to go hunting. Once we got out of the stand we went to go investgate what had happened, and that is when we saw the footprints left in the sand. The foot prints were proably 16" long and far too wide to be human. There were five toes.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2 including myself. I had just stoked the fire and put more logs on. The other person was sitting in a chair eating something.
OTHER STORIES: Yes. Some other hunters that I know were on the other side of 471 in a campground. One man said it was probaly nine at night they were sitting in the camper and heard their dogs going crazy. Looked out the door and saw a bigfoot standing near the fire and he says they made eye contact and the creature ran off. He claims the next day they tracked the animal with the help of the dogs on a leash. He said that the dogs led him to a fence and on the top strand of barbed wire there was long black matted hair that smelled worse than any hog could have. Plus it was on the top strand.
My friend who was with me has a brother who claimed he saw a bigfoot chasing a deer north of this location in the early morning hours while he waited for his ride to work.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was early morning, the lighting conditions were low. But the light from the fire made shillouttes of the creature.
ENVIRONMENT: Flordia hardwoods with palmetto undergrowth, also a few pine trees in there also. it was wet also.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
Ben told me that he's been a believer the entire time but surprised to hear what they felt could only be a Bigfoot. With all of their outdoor experience they have never heard anything similar to those loud, heavy footfalls. Ben is 6' 2" and wears size 12 boots. The prints they found were much larger than his own. It was early morning, still dark and little or no moon so they could barely make out a silhouette of the creature.
We have received many reports in and around this Preserve. The Florida Investigators have had several private expeditions with results in the Green Swamp.
Report proofread and edited by Christopher Noel, April 19, 2008.
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013 and 2015. She will be co-organizing the 2016 Michigan UP Expedition in October.